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Tony Baker (1941-2021)

  • 13 August 2021

Tony Baker, the long-serving Caius Boat Club Boatman, has died. He was 80.

Tony served as Caius Boatman for 29 years, from 1977 before retiring in 2006. He was instrumental in Caius’ rise to become the dominant college Boat Club on The Cam.

A first Headship since 1987 came in Mays 1998, and 16 followed before Tony’s retirement.

Dr Jimmy Altham, Senior Treasurer of Caius Boat Club, says: “Tony maintained a close interest in the Boat Club after his retirement.  When Caius crews were racing, he was often to be seen on his bike in bank parties. During Bumps, he was always there at the start, calling out the countdown.  For several years he renovated the College punts each winter. He and Joy were fixtures at every Boat Club Dinner.

“During Tony’s wonderful partnership with Jack McDonald and a series of great Captains, an ethos was established in Caius Boat Club that not only led to an unprecedented string of victories, but endures to this day.”

Jack McDonald, the former Caius Boat Club Senior Treasurer, wrote a tribute on Tony’s retirement, which was read by Mr Neil McKendrick, the then Master at an event at the Boat House. It was subsequently published in 2005-2006 edition of The Caian, the annual record of Gonville & Caius College, and is reproduced through this link.

In it, Tony was described as “a dedicated and hard-working expert who had Caius Boat Club running through him like the lettering in a stick of rock”, and “without any shred of doubt the best boatman on the Cam”.

Detailed is the Lents 1999 campaign, which took place as Tony was being treated for cancer. “The story ends happily. Caius bumped up three places to the headship, Tony made a complete recovery,” says Jack.

Tony had a Janousek Eight named after him. The Tony Baker is used by the lower boats on the Cam.

Click on this sentence for the full extract from The Caian.

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